The Sega Dreamcast was released in North America in 1999. 9/9/99 in-fact! It was a game console that was both paradoxically ahead of its time and just a little too late. Boasting features like broadband capability for online gaming and superb 3D graphics, it just wasn’t enough to break the market that Sony dominated with its Playstation console. None-the-less, the Dreamcast remains a legendary console and 20 plus years later still has a large following of fans.
But with age comes maintenance and repairs. The Dreamcast is prone to several common problems:
- Rechargeable CMOS battery no longer charges, causing a prompt to set the date and time each time the console is turned on.
- The fuse for the controller port easily blew, sometimes by simply plugging or unplugging a controller while the console was on, causing them to no longer work.
- The optical GD Drive laser has burned out or is weak causing games to not load.
The Dreamcast is a fairly simple game console to disassemble with no special tools required to do so and should only take about 20 minutes.
- Phillips Head Screwdriver
- Spudger (or something to pry with)
Step 1. Broadband Adapter
- Flip the console upside down.
- You will notice that the broadband adapter has a slide that can be pressed, releasing the adapter when pushed out.
- Removing the adapter will reveal one of the 4 case screws.
Step 2. Case Screws
- There are 4 phillips head case screws holding the Dreamcast together.
- Remove all 4 screws and set them aside.
- Holding both halves of the case together with your hands, flip the console right side up and the top portion of the case will come right off.
Step 3. Remove Power Supply and Switch
A word of caution here. The power supply is fully exposed and may still contain an electrical charge. For safety, you should leave the Dreamcast unplugged for at least 15 minutes to dissipate the charge
- Begin by removing the power switch cable by pressing in the clip and lifting up
- There are 2 phillips screws holding the power board to the case. Remove each screw and set them aside.
- Using your finger or spudger, gently push on the clip holding the power board in place, just enough to release it.
- At this point the board is only held on by the prongs towards the bottom. It will be a little stiff and may require some force to lift it but pulling it straight up will free the power board from the case.
- Set the board and plastic shielding aside.
- Remove the 2 phillips screws holding the power switch in place.
Step 4. Remove Controller Ports
- There are 4 phillips head screws along with a ribbon cable and power connector for the cooling fan.
- Begin by removing the ribbon cable. It’s held in only by friction so gently grip the cable and pull it out.
- Next, remove the power cable for the fan by tightly gripping it and pulling the cable connector out towards the fan itself.
- With the fan and ribbon cable removed you can unscrew the 4 screws.
- Lift up on the controller port board at an angle and it will come right out of place.
Step 5. Remove Cooling Fan
- The fan is attached to the case by 2 phillips screws. Remove them and the fan should come off easily.
Step 6. Remove the GD Optical Drive
- There are 2 phillips screws holding the optical drive to the Dreamcast.
- Remove each screw, and using a spudger or your finger, pull up the assembly from the rest of the console.
- The optical drive is attached to the mainboard beneath the assembly. It’s held in place by friction and will be a little stiff to remove.
- Note: These 2 screws look similar but are shorter than some of the others. Set them aside so you use the correct ones when reassembling. Using the incorrect screws will damage the mainboard beneath.
Step 7. Remove RF Shielding
- There are 8 screws remaining. Take note of their locations in the picture. The darker screws (highlighted in yellow) are slightly longer than the 2 silver ones on the side.
- Remove the screws and set them aside.
- The top RF shielding along with the mainboard will lift out of place.
- All that is remaining is the bottom half of the RF shielding. It isn’t screwed to the case and will freely lift up to be removed.
For reassembling your Dreamcast, follow the steps in this guide backwards for reference. Make sure to use the correct screws – some of them look very similar but are slightly different lengths.